Sweet orange and bitter orange: the perfect match!
Originating in China and Malaysia where they were cultivated for millennia, the different varieties of oranges – bitter, sweet and bloody – have each taken their own path in their travels through time. The bitter orange, also referred to as Seville orange, sour orange, bigarade, or marmalade orange and called in many European languages the “orange apple” (of the Hesperides), was first brought to Sicily and Corsica by Arabian merchants in the 4th Century. It was mainly used at first in pharmacopeia and in savory cooking, mainly to add flavor to game foul. The sweet orange arrived much later in the West, around the 15th Century, brought back by Portuguese explorers and referred to in many languages as the orange of Portugal. Of course, in the English-speaking world, it is one of the great symbols of children’s Christmas treats, especially in less fortunate families where each child was given only a single one of these magic fruits. It is today the most widely consumed winter fruit in the world. These two oranges are a perfect match: the bitterness of the one balances off the acidity of the other, resulting in a complex and subtle flavor mix.